'Anata, Jaba (Lil), Qalandiya, Tue 23.11.10, Morning

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Ronny P. and Avital T. (reporting)

.Translator: Charles K.

 Years ago, Dahlia Ravikovitch wrote about Jerusalem:

“Hills are suspended from her neck

Like a wreath, a diadem

While her dust is pulverized by a massive stone

That growls like a young lion”

On the face of it, a morning like any other – when suddenly it becomes terrible, filled with grief.  It begins with the lines and suffering of women standing and waiting at the closed gate, and ends with a terrible wall now rising at the entrance to the Shu’afat refugee camp.

06:20  Hundreds of people crowded into the Qalandiya waiting room.  Long lines, desperate looks.  The women’s gate hasn’t opened.  Before it stand women, old people, youths and small children – some of them standing here waiting since 5 AM.  The dedicated women of the church organization count those crossing, deeply frustrated by their passive role and inability to help.  They repeatedly call the humanitarian office, which promises that a policeman is on the way.  (Guess who).  He arrives only an hour later.  Until then only a single, bored female soldier sat in the glass booth, negligently controlling the passage of the hundreds waiting, creating an endless line.

Time passes and the lines persist – it takes forever to cross.  Older people don’t have the strength today to stand up to younger people pushing into the line when the revolving gate opens, increasing their suffering and humiliation.

The tale of a revolving gate – sometimes they get stuck, break down or are out of order as a result of the crowding, sometimes for other reasons due to the evil that’s shut itself up inside the glass cube.  At the height of the crowding and suffering, the revolving gate closest to the soldiers stopped working.  They told us it broke down.  People who had grown used to suffering told us that wasn’t true.  They had already waited a long time for nothing  – they’d simply had to stand wasting time, and now had to move to the next line and start over.  Our colleagues tell us they’ve already witnessed similar harassing tricks, part of the repertoire of the soldiers and others operating the entrances and the revolving gatesinfo-icon.  About two hours later, when it had become less crowded, the revolving gate resumed operation, after it had been “seemingly” repaired.  Thus can any teen-aged male or female soldier control the lives and health of thousands of adults, elderly and infants by simply throwing a switch.

After calls to the humanitarian office produced no results, we called Benny, the commander of the installation, at a quarter to seven.

In the line of women and infants were also elderly people supported by canes and young fathers with small children on the way to the hospital.  The DCO representatives slowly begins checking documents and opening the gate.  But how will the elderly man with a cane and the person accompanying him get past the people crowded around the revolving.